As of the writing of this entry, the search continues for the pilot of the F-22 that crashed. Authorities report the weather and terrain are making it difficult to conduct the search, but they are pressing forward.
As a former Air Force instructor pilot, I want to let you know about the extreme competence of the missing pilot, even though I do not know him. For those not familiar with what it takes to become an Air Force pilot, let me shed some light on the subject for you.
First of all, to be assigned to fly the most advanced fighter in the Air Force inventory today, I can assure you that the pilot would stand out as a leader in any situation. He not only was successful in completing pilot training, but he made it through survival training, and the advanced training required to qualify him to fly the F-22. Without knowing him, I can tell you that he studied exhaustively, was fully prepared for any training evaluation, and ultimately passed them all with flying colors. I know this because I know military pilots.
I recently had a discussion with a two-star general and asked him what is the single element of military life he was most proud of. With zero hesitation, he said “the people.” He also told me he can’t believe the American taxpayers allow him to put two stars on his shoulders and command troops. And, he said, the troops under his command are the people he would choose to spend time with under any circumstances.
Many of us have military backgrounds, and hearing the unfortunate story about the F-22 crash caused me immediately to picture that amazing pilot climb into into his jet with full confidence. In aviation, there are so many things that can go wrong, it’s literally impossible to list them. But, even though I don’t know him, I can tell you that his commander knows that if anyone could handle an emergency situation, it would be one of his squadron pilots.
From knowing what he did to become qualified to fly the F-22, we know that he is one of the best among us. Let us all hope for the best outcome for the missing, brave F-22 pilot.